New “temporary” approach for technical measures
By Anne Eckstein | Friday 22 June 2012
Technical measures for the conservation of fish resources, which supplement decisions on fishing opportunities, are a key element of a regionalised approach to fisheries management, as planned under the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). A large number of these technical measures will expire on 31 December 2012. To prevent any interruption and pending the introduction of a new regionalised legislative framework under the reformed CFP, the European Commission adopted, on 21 June, a proposal to ensure that existing measures are maintained after this date
The Commission proposes to incorporate the technical measures into the overarching regulation on EU waters in the Atlantic Ocean (Regulation EC 850/98), which will ensure legal certainty and continuity and allow time to develop a new approach to regulating technical measures in line with the CFP reform. The Commission explains that it will present a proposal for a regionalised framework for technical conservation measures immediately upon adoption of the reformed CFP.
The question has been in suspense since the entry into force of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), which states that only measures for setting and distributing fishing opportunities may be defined in the annual regulation on fishing opportunities (the only component of the CFP that does not come under co-decision), while related conditions (technical measures), which govern the use of fishing opportunities without being functionally tied to them, must be adopted by co-decision. In 2009, technical measures were set for 18 months (Regulation EC 43/2009), after which they were prolonged for another 18 months, in June 2011 (Regulation EU 579/2011), pending adoption of the reforms.
The Commission’s new proposal amends the initial regulation (EC 850/98), updates some of its measures in keeping with the recommendations of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and incorporates technical measures for the reduction of discards of pelagic species in the North-East Atlantic, decided in the 2010 agreement between the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands, which have not yet been transposed into EU legislation. Once this regulation is adopted, the 2009 and 2011 regulations will be repealed.
Technical measures are rules that govern how and where fishermen can fish. They concern fishing gears, closed zones, fishing effort (number of authorised days at sea and/or engine power) and other measures to protect the marine environment. They are important for achieving the objective of sustainable fishing and for stock conservation as well as for certain measures related to management of the Natura 2000 network, especially concerning protection of vulnerable deep-water habitats.(1) COM(2012)298